Exodus: Gods and Kings review

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There are few filmmakers quite as dependable when it comes to epic, grandiose dramas that revel in their sheer immensity, than Ridley Scott. The man has simply mastered the blockbuster – though in the case of his latest production, Exodus: Gods and Kings, while there is still a daunting sense of scale, the director has compromised the more idiosyncratic, subtitles in the process, to make for a film that may look impressive up on the big screen, but leaves you feeling cold.

Depicting the old testament tale of Moses, Christian Bale takes on that very role, who works, side-by-side, with his associate Rhamses (Joel Edgerton). However when they discover the former has Hebrew roots, he is banished from his home, only to then instigate a revolution amongst the slaves, and rise up against this abhorrent tyrant – hoping to lead them on the path to freedom and orchestrate an exodus – to get away from the oppressive society that Rhamses dictates.

There is a myriad of fascinating themes at play in this title, and all so human. Rhamses loses a child triggering a sense of empathy for this callous antagonist; while Moses is suffering from a loss of identity, discovering he is not who he thought he was. However while touched upon, Scott never gets under the surface and examines the nuances and complexities of these issues. It’s a shame as it doesn’t utilise the acting credentials of those on board, with small, insignificant roles falling to the likes of Ben Kingsley, Aaron Paul and Sigourney Weaver. But nonetheless, as a cinematic experience this is impressive. There’s a forbidding quality about the film; it’s so grand and gargantuan, and with the swooping shots over the thousands of Hebrews partaking in the exodus, it is enough to take your breath away.

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But blockbusters need more intimacy, more character development and human elements for the audience to cling on to, and unfortunately this production is lacking in all of the above. It’s a shame given just how accomplished and talented those attached to this project are, making for a feature that ultimately leaves you feeling underwhelmed. Plus, Ridley, next time try to hire a few more actors native to the setting of the film. Come on.

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